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Ronald D. Moore on the Meaning of God in Battlestar Galactica‘s Finale

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Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore describes how the finale reflects his views on religion, and what he sees in store for the future of the franchise.

Q: How does it feel for you now that Battlestar Galactica is over?

A: It’s bittersweet at best. I’m very happy with the way we ended. I think we went out strong. I’m proud of the show, so it’s a really good feeling, but it’s hard. It’s been quite a family for a lot of years now.

Q: I’ll bet you won’t miss people asking you about the Final Cylon.

A: Actually I’ll miss that too. There’s a special joy you get having a show on the air that people are interested in, and wanting to know what happens next. You really want to enjoy that while you have it.

Q: The series ends explaining a lot of the mysteries with the existence of a supreme being. Does that reflect your own beliefs?

A: I would say the show is reflective of my religious views in that I don’t have really firm religious views. I’m an agnostic in the truest sense of the word. I think about these things — I grew up Roman Catholic, I’ve been interested in Hinduism, in Eastern religions, but I’m not dedicated to anything — I go through periods where I think maybe it’s all nonsense; maybe it’s the Matrix…I’m open to various ideas. And I think the show has been a lot about exploration of ideas, and the basis of faith and how can you come at it: one God, many gods, no gods, who knows.

Q: It’s fascinating how people have always been able to shape the show around their own beliefs, politically as well.

A: Politically and philosophically we wanted to raise more questions than we answered, and we wanted to keep shifting the audience’s perspective. The show is very much a forum for people to be challenged and to walk away from the show going, “God, I can’t believe they do that.” The idea that it would confuse people in terms of their moral judgments or their religious feelings was exactly what I wanted.

Q: You took a lot of risks with the story over the years. Did you ever worry you’d lose your audience?

A: It’s sort of my favorite thing. I like taking those chances. There’s just a lot of TV out there. The audience has seen a lot over the years, and they’re very familiar with 3-act structure. They know where your narrative is supposed to go, and I think when you can find ways of surprising them and taking them off stride, that’s gold. And yeah there’s risk that you blow it, risk that you lose them, or they’re pissed off. But that’s what makes it fun. I just felt as a storyteller that if I was in the audience watching it, I would sit up and go, “I can’t believe they just did that.” I want that reaction from my audience.

Q: What do you see for the future of Battlestar Galactica?

A: I like the universe, I like the characters. There’s certainly places where we didn’t tell all the stories there are to be told. I mean, there’s an entire missing year on New Caprica, which would be a great place to tell a completely different series of stories. I can’t see us regathering the cast to do those stories. I think that’d be yet another reimagining or those are books or comics or something. Because those stories in that missing year would not feel like the show that is Battlestar Galactica.

Q: What’s going on with your next series, Virtuality?

A: Fox has watched it, they’re in internal discussions about it. It’s a risky show for them. They don’t have any other programming like that. It was always sort of a long shot in terms of will they find a place for this on their lineup, and they were up front about that from the beginning. They said, “It’s a riskier one for us, we like it, we believe in it, but at the end of the day if this doesn’t happen let’s not all be shocked.” And we kind of went into it with that attitude, and that’s where we are. It’s a challenging ambitious piece that’s really different. And that’s good and bad for any network.

Click here to read another interview with Ronald D. Moore.

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